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Eagle Scout project leads to landscaping at care center

The Chatfield News of Chatfield, Minnesota

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"Project Picnic," which was in the planning stages for three months, came together on MEA weekend for Logan Johnson, who earned the honor of Eagle Scout for his landscaping at the Chosen Valley Care Center (CVCC).

"I was trying to figure out in mid-May actually what I could do at the care center for my Eagle Scout project, and I heard there was a project I could do like this around August. I knew I could do it, so I came to talk with Gerry (Gathje)," related Chatfield Boy Scout Johnson, 14-year-old son of Trevor and Angie Johnson.

Project Picnic restored flowerbeds and grass in the CVCC courtyard. Johnson worked on the paperwork for the plan during the summer, but by the time it was accepted, his family vacation to Yellowstone National Park left just three days of free time before school started in the fall. Although Johnson was ready to get started, Gathje wasn't confident it could get done in the fall with those time restraints. That's when the idea of doing it during the extra days off from school for MEA weekend entered Johnson's mind.

"MEA stuck out to me, and on the first day, we had a total of seven people helping. On the second day, we had six helpers," said Johnson. "On the first day, we hauled four yards of rock that we pulled up, and we pulled shrubs and plastic. On the second day, all the dirt got put back in — six and a half cubic yards — and we packed it down flat, leveled it, and after that, we had lunch, then we seeded it, rolled the anti-erosion fabric over it and laid straw on it. After that, Gerry had some more paperwork to do for me, then it was done.

"I'd been planning what we were going to do for three months, and when we really started working on it the first morning we got there, I thought, 'Wow, we're actually doing this and not waiting on paperwork. It was the first time I felt I'd accomplished something. This was a lot of brute force. I wouldn't call it fun, but it was fulfilling. It wasn't my idea of fun, but I enjoyed it."

Being a Boy Scout is very important to Johnson, who joined six and a half years ago, because it teaches leadership skills and self-sufficiency.

"It really is about learning to help other people, about leadership, life skills like cooking and life-saving and first aid, all the stuff you need to help others, because helping others in any way you can is a good thing," he said.

That means doing anything from shoveling dirt to escorting senior citizens from their cars to their Christmas dinner.

"The senior banquet at the elementary is my favorite service project," he added. "I enjoy talking with older people. They're always nice, and we try to make sure everybody gets a helping hand. I love seeing them smile and learning their conversations."

The Chatfield High School eighth grader is a member of the school's band as a French horn player and also has attended Yennie Martial Arts' tae kwon do classes for the past five years. He would like to someday become a part of the medical field, as both his parents are nurses. However, he aspires to do something different.

"I'm interested in epidemiology and diseases, how they spread," he explained. "For a while, I was thinking about cancer research heart disease is just as high up with cancer. I like helping people, but I like science, ' math, reading I want to go into something that's specialized."

Reflecting on his accomplishments at CVCC that will help him graduate from Boy Scout to Eagle Scout, he stated, "It was hard, a lot of work, but it felt worth it in the end."

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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